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YMMV / Inspector Spacetime

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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Jeffrey was generally loathed throughout fandom until his heroic-ish sacrifice.
  • Angst? What Angst?: While the actual transformation was more difficult than usual, the Fifth Inspector got used to being a woman very quickly.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: In the mid-1980's, the version of the theme song made by Devo was redone to include a rap, provided by Marko Kalfa (aka Latin freestyle singer Nolan Thomas).
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  • Broken Base: The "Blogon" vs. "Blorgon" war has bitterly divided the fanbase ever since the alien race appeared in the series' second episode. For the record, Brian Swansea, the Welsh in-house designer who helped create the iconic Inspector Spacetime enemy, used to insist on trilling the R in "Blorgon", while the posher Leslie French preferred to drop it.
  • Cargo Ship: Some fans continue to ship the X7 with the Inspector, although this has never had any basis in canon.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Some would argue that the Sergeant dabbles in this during the Made-for-TV Movie.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Spangly, revealing costume aside, the Sergeant is widely considered to have been the brightest spot in the otherwise rubbish Made-for-TV Movie.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Between this and that other show. This is mostly because of the amount of stuff taken from the show and given a new name in the latter.
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  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Veneziana and Thorough and that lasso spawned a thousand FanFics, even though there was never a hint of official on-screen attraction between them.
  • Fetish Retardant: Roy Higginbotham as Petula, after the character's Gender Bender transformation but before Pamela Highwater took over the role.
  • Fictional Document: It's widely believed that the Inspector's Encyclopaedia Cosmosica inspired Douglas Adams to do a little radio play titled The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy even as he worked on scripts for Inspector Spacetime's ripoff.
  • First Installment Wins: The Sixth Inspector made his entrance in the dynamic and thrilling adventure "The Triplicate Catastrophe", arguably the best story of the classic series, due to stellar acting on the part of the triplets, grand special effects, a suspenseful cliffhanger where his companion puts him in a chokehold, and a daring choice to completely ignore the studio format and take a stab at a bigger production.
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  • Foe Yay: Averted. There is nothing implied about the relationship between the Inspector and the Sergeant.
  • Genius Bonus: In addition to setting up numerous Historical Person Punchlines, BTV's writers enjoy showing off their Oxbridge educations in other fields. To name just a few:
    • The Infinity Knight High Command's Black Museum comes from the nickname of Scotland Yard's Crime Museum.
    • The Rostraans are named them after the Roman Rostra, the orators' platform that was also used for displaying the heads of defeated enemies of state during the late Republic.
    • The Inspector refers to the Maharini's 10-dimensional henchbeings as "p-braned" in "Space or the Maharani".
    • The chrono-crossbows in "The Envoys of Entropy" shoot "arrows of time".
    • The temporal disintegration of the planet Kadakeys alludes to two of Salvador Dalí's Surrealist paintings in "The Persistence of Memory".
    • Cardinal Continuum from the serial "The Last Minutes" gets his name from mathematician Georg Cantor's set theory work on "the cardinality of the continuum" (and the Lemniscate he uses is named after another term for the infinity symbol "∞").
  • Ham and Cheese: The Sergeant was played in the Made-for-TV Movie with infectious enthusiasm, making something genuinely funny out of a movie trying much too hard for comedy and very nearly salvaging the whole mess.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Although the programme's typical ideas of what the future became obsolete soon enough, a few stories turned out to be coincidentally prescient.
    • The serial "The Revolution" climaxed in street battles between the Circuit-Chaps and the Paris police—which would soon look all too similar to the May 1968 protests.
    • The final part of "The Kittens" climaxed in rioting and looting by the Kittens, ending with a huge standoff between the Kittens and the Inspector and his associates, assisted by the Bradford police—all of which look all too similar to the L.A. riots, the Ferguson unrest, the 2015 Baltimore protests, and other major riots in the 1990's, 2000's, and 2010's. To make it more eerie, a UK-based relative of Antoine Miller, one of the people involved in the attack on Reginald Denny during the L.A. riots, was an extra on this serial!
    • In "Exodus of the Blorgons", the Inspector successfully detects the space-time rifts his nemeses are using to relocate to London by installing special surveillance cameras across the city. Forty years later, the UK has an estimated 1.85 million CCTV cameras.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: You remember that guy who criticised the Inspector's time machine's look in "The Waters of Venice". He's the Twelfth Inspector now.
  • Ho Yay:
    • To some, The Inspector and Constable Reggie Wigglesworth. To others, the Inspector and the Sergeant.
    • Or Wigglesworth and the Sergeant!
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Bowler Hats are Neat!
    • The Optic Pocketknife has a thousand settings, but you'll only need the edge.
    • The intro to "Mark of the Maharani" has been making the rounds on YouTube in recent years and has spawned a few Image Macros. It consists of the Sixth Inspector (Graham Chapman) sitting in a darkened room, legs crossed, pipe in hand, staring unblinkingly at the camera, and reciting a summary of the upcoming episode in reversed Latin. While disquieting, the rumour that he addresses the viewer by name is, of course, completely apocryphal and easily disproven, as is the rumour that his eyes vanish at any point during the intro and are replaced with smooth, blank skin. Rumours that the shadows behind him contain roiling black shapes, like tentacles or smoke, were probably inspired by visual artefacts from the VHS transfer. These rumours are silly and should not be investigated further.
    • "It's not (where, what, who or how) but when."
    • "Look out, Blorgons!"
      • "ERADI-CATE!"
  • Narm Charm: Naturally. It's part of the appeal, especially in Classic Spacetime. Those early Blorgons! Adorable.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Blorgons. Whether you find them terrorising in their own right or you just think "they look like walking salad spinners" varies a lot from person to person, though their episodes tend to score very high on the Terror Tracker. They usually score four or five out of six.note 
  • Nightmare Retardant: The titular monsters in "The Kittens". (They're just so darn adorable when they're pretending to eat people!)
  • Older Than They Think:
    • A great many science fiction and fantasy characters and concepts actually originated in IS:
    • Despite what the books' fans say, Nymeria of Kraken V was created long before George R R Martin even imagined the name Westeros, much less its history and legends.
    • Fans of that other show would do well to note that Inspector Spacetime began airing an entire year before it. In fact, the former show takes a lot of cues from IS.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Adding up all of his time on screen from the single arc in which he appears, the Indictor spends no more than forty minutes onscreen in the entire series.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Due to the show's limited budget, this was commonplace. Since the BTV production complex in Southampton was across the street from the local Plummer Roddis store, the prop-makers simply walked across the street to the Plummer Roddis store or went to local dollar/nickel stores to get props sometimes. Here's some examples:
    • There's the one serial where the monster was just a dollar store FM radio with a mask similar to the one used for Booji Boy glued on, held on a string.
    • The Fifth Inspector's communicator was an actual toy Inspector Spacetime communicator that was available in shops at the time.
    • Some aerial shots in the late classic series episodes have the characters represented by Jem and the Holograms and G.I. Joe figures without licks of paint or anything.
    • The Blorgons's laser effects in the early episodes were achieved by having the tricycle rider inside the costume hit a trigger that set off dolled-up torch/flashlights, and then painting onto the film with teal glitter acrylic paint.
    • In the classic series' final episode "Failure", the communicator the Inspector uses to communicate with some of the Kittens from "The Kittens" is clearly just a Sega Master System video game console, without even a lick of paint or anything.
    • The original super glue gun used by the Second Inspector was a spud gun spray-painted silver.
    • In the 2016 episode "Pancake Breakfast Restaurant of the Circuit-Chaps", the shrunken BOOTH is just a Character Options Flight Control TARDIS toy from The Ripoff painted red.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The Snarling Lions will attack you as soon as you look at them directly. Made even worse in one of their later appearances, where it's revealed that even looking directly at the reflection of one will cause it to be aware of you. Imagine the Inspector's unease at having to hunt one down in an Amusement Park of Doom's Hall of Mirrors.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: In the trippy Second Inspector serial "The Time Bootleggers", Hamish Wilson's character Aiden is temporarily replaced by some bit actor from Emergency – Ward 10 named Frazer Hines.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Stephen Fry's turn as the Inspector was not well received in many quarters. He started on the road to redemption with his brief appearance in the Eighth Inspector TV-movie, particularly during his scene with the now-elderly Dynamo. And then, years later, when the show was revived again, he appeared in the episode "Fry and Laurie", playing not his version of the Inspector, but an epically hilarious send-up of himself.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Sometimes it seems like every single famous British actor in the world started out playing a villain or Red Shirt on Inspector Spacetime. Perhaps the earliest example was Michael Caine, who hit it big in Zulu just months after appearing as the terrifying Cockney Radarman leader in "The Radarmen".
  • The Scrappy: Inspector Minerva is seen as this by much of the fandom.
  • Seasonal Rot: The Seventh Inspector's run is generally regarded as the series' lowest point, mostly due to the banal, repetitive and/or appalling scripts (though as noted above Stephen Fry's Inspector has his detractors as well.) "Cattlefield", with its ghastly abundance of Toilet Humour, may be the worst of the worst.
  • Shocking Swerve: The First Inspector's abrupt death/metamorphosis near the end of "The Lost Asteroid" could be seen as an example of this.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: "Coco" Coates is arguably an example; the arrival of the rather dour Second Inspector saw her replaced as the Inspector's Associate by the sword-wielding Aiden.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The show's notoriously low budget often caused this. The most infamous example was the episode where the "monster" was clearly a carton of eggs with Dracula fangs glued on.
    • "The Ocean's Teeth". Just, "The Ocean's Teeth". Elephant-shark hybrid monsters are not supposed to have mouths with visible hinges (that appeared to have been taken off a rusty old door)! Sometime you could even see the costume operator's fabulous red hair in the Makara's mouth, making viewers certain that there would be a big Scooby Doo Reveal and cursing of meddling kids by the end. How the actors managed to keep straight faces is a miracle for the ages.
    • The "ejector seat" scene in Retirement Home of the Circuit-Chaps is another infamous example, complete with a "boinging spring" sound-effect.
    • In their first appearance, the Circuit Chaps appear to have their costumes made out of paper lunch bags sprayed with a spray adhesive and spray-painted silver. Sometimes you could even see the costume operator's bored face through their eyes and mouths.
    • The early versions of the Blorgons were simply professional tricycle riders peddling a tricycle with a garbage can and pieces of plastic covered in ironed tinfoil drilled on. Also, the Blorgons appeared to have disused ambulance revolving lights drilled to soup bowls spray-painted black for eyes.
    • The FE-Line prop cost £120,000 to make, but the cast, crew and writers soon grew to hate it because it was poorly-made and constantly broke. It also moved very slowly and unsteadily, especially annoying as it was the companion of a Inspector who was forced to pace down his naturally fast and comical movements to speeds matching that of FE-Line, usually with an ad-libbed "move yer bloody butt, FE-Line" every time it just stopped for no reason. Many of the scripts are peppered with sarcastic stage directions for FE-Line, such as (from "The De-Faced Doppelgängers") "FE-LINE TROTS OFF AT WHAT PASSES FOR TOP SPEED IN THE MIND OF THE BUGGER WHO BUILT THE DAMN PROP", and (in one of the few recorded cases of on-set rivalries between a human and a prop robot) Christopher Lee developed a habit of subjecting FE-Line to ad-libbed verbal abuse in rehearsals, footage of which occasionally surfaces in Hilarious Outtakes shows. ("The Ripoff's dog version of this bitch is better than her"). On top of that, it was the FE-Line prop which was destroyed when it was dropped from a train as it was entering Kings Cross station, leaving smashed bits and pieces of a female feline robot behind.
    • "The Theft of Space" has a terrifying alien invasion represented by terribly CSO-ed sock puppets covered in tinfoil. The DVD gives you the option of watching it with extras in hyper-realistic alien costumes instead.
    • "The Underground of Doom"
    • The original Blorgon Battlehub was simply a piece of ancient pottery loaned from the British Museum held on suspending guide wires.
    • The Blorgon Battlehub's control panel in the 1980's episodes starting from the ones in 1982 is simply a Moog Source synthesizer, without even a lick of paint or anything.
    • In the classic series' final episode "Failure", one of the kittens' flying saucers is represented by a Pillsbury Crescent Roll, then in the background of one scene you can see an unmasked kitten actor eating what was obviously meant to be his lunch.
    • The Exploding Rock's sudden appearances were represented by an iris in and it's explosions were represented by an iris out. Pretty lazy for the BTV graphics department.
  • Take That, Critics!: In response to ongoing Dawson Casting charges, Tracey Ullman's Dynamo appeared in the TV Movie in old-age makeup.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Despite the above, occasionally the show pulled it off. "The Return of the Infinite Cyclorama" is often cited as the original series' highpoint in this area, especially the now-iconic shot where the Cyclorama re-emerges and devours the Blorgon Battlehub.
  • What Could Have Been: All the plot-arcs that got scrapped during the Seventh Inspector's era.
  • The Woobie: Almost any Associate, but Capt. James Haggard deserves a special mention.
    • Also Thorough Visor. To quote one critic: "It is an eternal testament to Hugh Laurie's ability to produce puppy-dog eyes that the man is able to make you feel sorry for him even as he jaunts around the universe half-naked crammed into a phone box with three attractive women."

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